Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Low & Slow - The Way To Go

Good evening everyone! For tonight's recipe - I'm returning to one of my favorite methods of cooking - roasting. I've made many roasted dishes on the blog before including chicken, beef and turkey. I've used everything from slow cookers to roasting pans and have tried every technique from marinating to brining - all in the effort to create the most moist, flavorful slice of meat possible.

For my recipe tonight, I'm turning to my favorite meat to roast - beef. In addition, I'm roasting my favorite cut of beef - brisket. However, I am using a new technique for tonight's roast. Instead of brining or marinating the beef for a few hours before cooking, I'm simply seasoning the brisket lightly before popping it right into the oven. In place of a long soak in some flavorful marinades, I'm creating a strong seasoning to baste onto the roast in short intervals. This is a method I have yet to fully test - but one that I'm eager to see in action.

In addition to a new cooking technique, I'm testing out a few new kitchen tools as well. One of our Christmas gifts was a brand new, extremely high quality, roasting pan (complete with roasting rack and heavy glass lid). So far, we have yet to put the dish to the test. Tonight, I'm putting it through its paces on a nice long roast.

I'm also using a new technique to crush garlic and chop the rosemary tonight. The recipe I'm basing this dish off of called for the rosemary leaves to be finely chopped and for the garlic to be crushed. I opted to try something completely new and used a pestle and mortar instead. More on that later - let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Roast Beef*
Original Recipe Found In: Jamie Magazine - December / January 2010/11 Issue

What You'll Need:

2 Pounds High Quality Roasting Beef (Brisket is ideal)
8 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary (Leaves picked and finely chopped)
2 Gloves Garlic (Crushed)
2 Tablespoons Honey

*My one complaint with Jamie's recipes is that he lacks any imagination in naming them! Most of them don't have a name and others are given generic 'snoozers' like the one above. I've dubbed this dish 'Low & Slow Rosemary Brisket' I like my name better!

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.

Begin by mixing your Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, chopped rosemary leaves and crushed garlic together in a medium mixing bowl. Rather than taking the tedious steps of finely chopping the rosemary leaves (and then cleaning the knife) and crushing the garlic in our garlic press (and then cleaning the garlic press) I opted to use a little kitchen tool that Maggie and I have had for a while, but have yet to use. The pestle and mortar.

For those who don't know this:

Is a pestle and mortar (also known as a mortar and pestle - they are referred to interchangeably). The pestle (the large stick part) and mortar (the bowl) are usually made of some heavy, durable substance such as stone or wood (ours is stone). Simply by placing the objects you wish to grind in the mortar, and rotating the pestle with a little force and elbow grease, you can reduce anything into a fine powder or thick paste. Using that strategy, I ground the rosemary and garlic into a thick paste fairly quickly. Added bonus - only one thing to clean instead of two!

Place your brisket into the roasting pan and season with salt and a little pepper. I've learned through many roasting procedures that a little bit of salt can go a long way to creating a juicy roast. (It follows the brining principle - but to a much lesser extent. The salt changes the structure of the protein in the meat - and encourages the protein to hold on to the moisture, rather than shed it during cooking).

Next, using a pastry brush or baster, cover the roast with about 1/3 of the sauce. Make sure everything is coated evenly and completely. If you want, you can throw in some vegetables around the bottom of the roast. I opted to roughly slice a few russet potatoes (skin still on) and throw them in around the roast. The potatoes will absorb a lot of the flavor of the roast while cooking and will only need to be mashed with a little butter to create a great side dish!

Place the roast into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 320 degrees. (Setting the temperature higher and then reducing the heat allows the roast to cook at a constant temperature for the duration of the roasting time as the oven doesn't have to increase the heat when the oven door is opened.)

Halfway home
Cook the roast for 2 hours - making sure to baste the roast every 20 to 30 minutes or so. As the roasting time draws to a close (15 minutes remaining), drizzle the honey over the top of the roast (making sure to really work it into the crevices) and return to the oven. This honey will create a nice thick glaze on the top of the roast and really boosts the final flavor.

Allow the roast to rest for about 10 minutes before carving. Serve with roasted vegetables and enjoy!

In addition to the roast (and roasted potatoes) I'm also cooking up an interesting carrot dish that should compliment the main dish nicely.

The Recipe: Stovetop Carrots
Original Recipe Found In:

What You'll Need:

1 Bag Baby Carrots (Small)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Sugar
A Collection Of Various Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Bay Leaf etc.) Bundled
1 Orange, but into 8 slices
2 Garlic Cloves

Begin by placing your carrots in a small pot. Add enough water to barely cover all of the carrots. Next, add a pinch of salt, the sugar, garlic cloves (skin on), your herbs and the orange slices and cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender. (Roughly 20 minutes)

It smells amazing, it doesn't look amazing while cooking though 
Once the carrots are tender, remove the tied herbs and discard all but one of the orange slices. Pop the garlic out of its skin as well. You have a few options from this point. You can either mix the last orange slice with a little butter and garlic and serve that on top of the carrots (as a sauce) or you can mix everything (including the carrots) together in a bowl and mash 'em all up. I opted for the second option.

Once mashed, you're ready to serve and enjoy!

The Results:

Let's start with the oddest menu item - the carrots. If you're like me, you read that ingredient list and asked yourself "Really? Can that possibly be a good flavor combination?" The answer is simple - yes, yes it can. Through some chemical process that I can only explain as magic - the carrots, orange, rosemary, bay leaf and garlic all blend together to make something...sweet. The final taste is almost like candied carrots. They hold this amazing, sweet (semi-sweet potato like) flavor that is certainly a surprise for your taste buds. I was pleasantly surprised with the finished carrot dish.

Finally, the roast. I've done this enough now to know what to expect with a roast cooked 'low and slow'. My only concern was that the constant basting would throw off the heat distribution in the oven and cause the meat to cook unevenly. That concerned turned out to be needless, however, as the roast came out of the oven beautifully golden brown and cooked to perfection all the way through. The tangy flavor of the marinade accompanied each bite without overpowering the final dish - all in all, this was a fantastic roast!

That's all we have for you this evening. Maggie is set up to finish off the cooking week tomorrow night with a recipe that I'm eager to try. She's using a food item that I haven't been a fan of in a long time - but I'm willing to take a shot at this particular ingredient again. After all, since we've started cooking I've started eating peas, green beans and carrots again - all things that were on my 'no' list prior to learning to cook. Who knows, maybe I'll fall in love with this mystery ingredient all over again! To find out what Maggie's got cooking, stop back tomorrow evening. Until then,


No comments:

Post a Comment